The foreshadowing of an Arizona Monsoon

Two years ago, I spent a week in August visiting my parents in the White Mountains of Northeastern Arizona during the height of the monsoon season. I have experienced lots of thunderstorms in my life living in the Midwest yet had never seen a real, full-blown monsoon storm.

You would think that in a desert climate such as Arizona, that it never ever rains. That is true for the most part. For most of the year, it hardly if ever rains. However, once summer nears and the monsoon season begins, it is a whole new place with the telltale signs of the powder-puff monsoon clouds laden with rain.

Monsoon clouds forming in Arizona

Monsoon clouds forming in Arizona

Monsoon clouds forming in Arizona

The weather can be perfectly clear with a brilliant blue sky and then all of a sudden, in roll the crazy, out of this world clouds of brilliant, glistening whites that turn to hues of creams, pinks, grays, blues and eventually black. The wind picks up, the thunder roars and lightning flashes sideways across the sky and you better be inside or if not, run for cover. It is going to storm and it is going to rain hard.

Monsoon clouds forming in Arizona

Monsoon clouds forming in Arizona

Normally in the White Mountains the monsoons start forming around mid-morning, as the clouds have grown bigger, brighter and then darker over time. The monsoon generally starts over the highest peaks of the mountains and moves slowly over the Mogollon Rim. By early to mid afternoon, the storm reaches here at my parent’s house in and the thunder begins.

Monsoon clouds Arizona

I was mesmerized by the clouds and the changing color of light.

Monsoon clouds Arizona

A gorgeous ray of light foreshadows the storm that is yet to come.

I loved watching the monsoons come in with their explosion of light and nervous energy they evoked across the land. Silence. Thunder. Then a roar and a downpour of rain. Followed by more rain, more lightning, more thunder and then silence once again after the storm has passed.

Monsoon Clouds Arizona

Watching the storm from my parents deck

Monsoon Clouds Arizona

Finally after the storm comes the calming hues of the sunset. Another day has come and gone, and tomorrow another storm awaits.


This post was inspired by the weekly photo challenge: Foreshadow. To see more entries, click here


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  4. Beautiful – and much more impressive than my recent shots in Taiwan capturing the afternoon thunderstorms. You keep giving me goals to aspire to!

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  9. Beautiful pictures! We were in Flagstaff, Arizona the end of July and I couldn’t believe how quickly the weather would change! The monsoon clouds were beautiful and I loved the sounds of thunder everything afternoon.

  10. I spent 2 weeks in Uganda last spring and we delivered medical supplies to a rural hospital on the border of South Sudan and Congo. I witnessed first hand how they struggled with power outages and the hospital lacked running water. When the power was out in the maternity ward the nurses and doctor would have to deliver babies by candle light or with the light from their mobile phone. It his heartbreaking and not okay. Not when there is something that can be done about it.

    • Crazy isn’t it? Mostly the month of August and it happens in Tucson too! They even have built washes where the water can flow into like a river so it doesn’t flood the streets.

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